So I went to Harvard. It was a daily challenge not to slug many of my classmates in the face. There are plenty of good people at Harvard. There are also a great many egotistical children convinced that their prattling is the stuff of genius. Too many politicians in training wheels. Too many cowards who wind up in finance. This morning, I felt a twinge of the Old Rage as I read a New York Times story about the reaction at Harvard to the men's basketball team making the NCAA tournament, which hasn't happened since 1946. I'll elaborate using quotes from the story:
"Everybody's so excited about it; in the dining halls, everyone's talking about it," said Danielle Rabinowitz, a Harvard sophomore from Brookline, Mass. "So, even for a person like myself, who isn't at the basketball games themselves, I'm pretty in tune with the success of the basketball team.
"People always stereotypically feel that our conversations are generally about philosophy, or obscure topics that the common man can't relate to. I think that just adding this element of sports to the mix kind of grounds us in a more human way that is really great."
The common man? Fuck you.
Tyler Neill, a graduate student in South Asian studies, was walking around Harvard Yard on Wednesday morning reading a copy of Immanuel Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason" in its original German. Neill had little knowledge of the university's latest basketball achievement.
"I watch sports none at all," Neill said. "It's not in my radar. Actually, when I talked with my father, he's mentioned this. He's excited."
None at all? Fuck you.
"We're not Duke, and don't want to be," said Peter Sampson, an alumnus from Los Angeles who was visiting the campus to attend a research seminar. "We're proud of the basketball team, and if they're going to play they might as well be good. But we're also proud of everyone. Tomorrow it might be the time to notice a new groundbreaking book by a professor or a scientific discovery. A basketball game is fleeting."
If they're going to play they might as well be good? Fuck you in the eye.
"The team has been a real community building force," [Drew Gilpin] Faust said. "It's a tribute to the notion of the student-athlete, and it's happening at the same time as the phenomenon of Jeremy Lin, who was on this team just two years ago and was fully a student here."
Faust has attended several Harvard games this season, sitting behind one of the baskets—often a serious fan's choice—in the small, old-fashioned pavilion gym where Harvard plays its home games. She said that her husband was a diehard basketball fan and that the game had deep roots in her family.
Huh. Hold on a minute. This one sounds kind of normal. Kind of common, even. I think I might like this one. Turns out she's the president of the school and the only person interviewed with whom you might actually WANT to watch a basketball game.